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unswsydney OP t1_itx3cpz wrote

Hi r/Futurology, cheers for having us!

A team of UNSW researchers led by Professor François Ladouceur have demonstrated that sensors built using liquid crystal and integrated optics technologies can measure neural activity using light – rather than electricity – which could lead to a complete reimagining of medical technologies like nerve-operated prosthetics and brain-machine interfaces.

The team's research has been published in the Journal of Neural Engineering:


Corsair4 t1_ityt0r5 wrote

This is absolutely fascinating. I don't have time to read your article just yet - But I have some questions, and I hope they aren't immediately addressed in the paper, so I'm not wasting everyone's time.

How do you intend to do the reverse operation - writing information to the nerves?

My background is in neuroscience, not biomedical engineering. I'm more familiar with optogenetic schemes, but those rely on modified light sensitive receptor expression in the target neuron. Is your scheme able to stimulate the neuron without changing protein expression within the cell?

Additionally, optogenetic approaches need a fairly intense light source, and that runs the risk of causing damage to the tissue in research settings. Is that a concern for your system?

Thanks again. This is the coolest thing I've read in a while.


unswsydney OP t1_iu20zce wrote

Hi,u/Corsair4! Here's a response from Professor François Ladouceur!


>Fascinating indeed and yes, we are also addressing the reverse operation and will be publishing this very soon. It is based on the simple idea of micro-voltaic cells or if you prefer, we have shrunk down solar panels to micron-square size and managed to generate enough voltage to stimulate nerves. Hence we can both “read” and “write” using light. No optogenetics needed.